Today’s architecture has failed the body with its long heritage of purity of form and aesthetic of cleanliness. A resurgence of interest in flesh, especially in art, has led to a politics of abjection, completely changing traditional aesthetics, and is now giving light to an alternative discussion about the body in architecture. This book is dedicated to a future vision of the body in architecture, questioning the contemporary relationship between our Human Flesh and the changing Architectural Flesh. Through the analysis and design of a variety of buildings and projects, Flesh is proposed as a concept that extends the meaning of skin, one of architecture’s most fundamental metaphors. It seeks to challenge a common misunderstanding of skin as a flat and thin surface. In a time when a pervasive discourse about the impact of digital technologies risks turning the architectural skin ever more disembodied, this book argues for a thick embodied flesh by exploring architectural interfaces that are truly inhabitable. Different concepts of Flesh are investigated, not only concerning the architectural and aesthetic, but also the biological aspects. The latter is materialised in form of Synthetic Neoplasms, which are proposed as new semi-living entities, rather than more commonly derived from scaled-up analogies between biological systems and larger scale architectural constructs. These ’neoplasmatic’ creations are identified as partly designed object and partly living material, in which the line between the natural and the artificial is progressively blurred. Hybrid technologies and interdisciplinary work methodologies are thus required, and lead to a revision of our current architectural practice.
’Recently in many architectural schools efforts intensified to further develop architectural research. Exciting new avenues are being explored, relying upon the design skills of architects and urban designers, combining them with intellectual rigor and in-depth thinking, in order to imagine new spatialities and to unfold hitherto unknown spatial experiences. This series highlights the innovative results of these explorations, opening up a new world of path-breaking research.’ Hilde Heynen, University of Leuven, Belgium
Bridging a range of positions between practice and academia, this series seeks out the best proponents of architectural design research from around the world. These texts will be varied in tone and structure, and will discuss aspects including design method, visual representation, textual analysis, social processes, and strategies for action. The series is to be deliberately inclusive in order to encourage a novel and vibrant kind of approach for architectural research. Each of the books will contain a large amount of serious and innovative historical or theoretical research, combined with creative propositions realized through a mixture of drawings, models and textual analysis. It is the essential symbiotic interplay between these components which creates the framework for design research in architecture.
The precise working of the interplay of text and project in architectural design research remains a much debated and relatively unformed issue, and this is of course symptomatic of the conditions facing any newly emerging subject area. The broader questions and theoretical structures of design research have formed the basis of discussions in international refereed journals such as The Journal of Architecture, and there is undoubtedly more intellectual work to be done in such areas. But there is also the need to form knowledge and method through actual propositions, with these studies enabling their authors not just to explore, propose and reflect on their specific subject-at-hand, but also on the wider nature of design research in general. It is for this express reason that this series aims to publish as widely as possible a number of the very best outputs in the field of design research, to allow others to use them as exemplars or to take issue with them through reasoned critique. It is a fertile time for design research and this book series will act at the heart of these investigations and discussions.